February 5, 2004

Test Spin: Amel Larrieux

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After a four year hiatus, Amel Larrieux has finally returned with yet another buoyant album harnessing a mix of R&B, soul, funk, and creating an unclassifiable genre. I was immediately drawn in by the first song, “For Real,” which has her hitting some Mariah Carey-like high Fs; only Amel does it with even more grace and soul on the ends. Wileding acoustic and electric guitar, drums, chimes, and dispersed synthesizers, Amel’s eclectic beats are both intelligent and swinging.

This diversity means the music can either compliment a hot cup of coffee in the morning while you soak up the sun, or it can change your mood on the ride home from a long day of classes. For those whimsical late night moments, right before you doze off, Amel will serenade you to sleep with her soulful soprano romanticism on several wonderfully serene ballads. The album is a little hard to listen to in one sitting, so pop it in for a few good tunes — all of them original. For once, an artist is equally beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Amel is poetic, incredibly soulful, and one hell of a musician. After falling in love with the song “Makes Me Whole” off her previous album, “Infinite Possibilities,” I had no qualms with snatching this one off the shelf only seconds after walking into the store. I recommend you do the same immediately.

Archived article by Jonathon Hampton